Colombia Ministry Team
This year we entered into a partner congregation relationship with the Lutheran Church in Yopal, Colombia. It has been exciting to begin getting acquainted with our new brothers and sisters in Christ. In July Mark Rintoul and Joyce Hendrickson had the opportunity to visit this congregation while they were in Colombia with the Synod delegation. So far we have been praying for the members of Yopal during our Sunday prayers, and we skyped with them in October sharing in singing You Have Come Down to the Lakeshore in English and Spanish. In January and February we collected recipes from our members and have sent them to Yopal. We are awaiting recipes from them to try out! In April we will be sharing a worship service with Yopal over Skype.
Since 2011 Ascension’s involvement in Colombia has been 3-fold. We have been supporting 2 projects of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Colombia, (IELCO) and have been assisting a student, Benicia Silva, to complete university.
1.The True Vine Project in Bogota – a program run by the IELCO that supports single moms and their children, as well as children and youth with hearing and cognitive impairments. This program provides several areas of training such as craft making classes which provide participants with a means of earning an income from selling products such as purses, sandals and jewelry. The program also has a kindergarten class, life skills training, computer classes, recreational opportunities, and Christian Education and music lessons that are provided in conjunction with the “Solo Por Fe” (Only by Faith) Lutheran Church next door.
2.The Radio Training School in Bogota– a program also run by the IELCO which teaches teens at risk how to produce a radio program while teaching them values of respect, kindness, tolerance, conflict resolution, etc. Our funds have also helped in the renovations of the space used for the training school, which allows the production of the radio programs on site instead of travelling to the IELCO offices.
3.Benicia Silva, a student who once lived at the Hogar Llanero Brisas del Canada, (the student’s residence supported by Ascension from 2006-2010) is now going to University in the city of Tunja, taking Physical Education. Benicia thanks you for your support saying that without it she would never have been able to attend University and live out a dream of furthering her education. In April 2013 Benicia had a baby girl, Annieth. Annieth is a beautiful, healthy baby who is well loved by her mother and father. Benicia took one semester off, and is now back in school, completing her 5th semester of a 10 semester (5 year) program. Benicia is determined to complete her degree.
JOURNEY TO COLOMBIA 2011
From July 18 to Aug 2, 2011, twenty five youth and adults from Ascension Lutheran Church in Edmonton, AB experienced the sounds, sights, smells, tastes, and touch of Colombia, South America. We prayed that God would open our eyes to the people of Colombia, to build relationships and to learn from our brothers and sisters in Christ. We were touched deeply by our experience, and found ourselves inspired by the people we were privileged to meet.
'Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord'
Click on report to read a synopsis of the Journey and view pictures.
"Journey to Colombia 2009" - March 26 - April 8, 2009 15 members of Ascension Lutheran Church journeyed to Colombia. As guests of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia (IELCO) the participants were introduced to various ministries of the church in Bogota including several development projects. They also journeyed to Paz de Ariporo on the Colombian plains to meet the children of a residence that Ascension Lutheran has been supporting - Hogar Llanero Brisas Del Canada (Home on the Plains Breezes from Canada). This journey was a life-transforming event for each participant. We learned that we have more to learn from our sisters and brothers in Colombia than they have to learn from us; that relationships established across international and denominational lines, and learning and hearing of the issues facing the Church in Colombia are invaluable for our living out of the gospel in Canada; and that a journey such as this rasies again and again the question of what it means to be a disciples of Jesus Christ - and what it means to follow Jesus in our daily living.
The following recommendations were presented and accepted at the AGM for Designated Ministry Focus for 2012:
The Colombia Ministry Team recommends
1) Ascension continue to support the Radio Training School and the True Vine Projects of the IELCO Diaconal Ministry,
specifically allocating 75% of the money accrued under designated ministry giving to these two sustainable projects.
The premise for this recommendation is punctuated by the feedback from the organizers of the projects; the participants
desire to continue to grow the community based projects and the ongoing success is evidenced by the noticeable effects of the care and service that the projects provide.
2) Ascension continue to support past student of the Hogar, Benicia Silva, to complete her post-secondary education degree (anticipated to be 2016) allocating 25% of the money accrued under designated ministry giving to ‘The Benicia Silva
This recommendation is supported by the intent to facilitate the educational goal of a citizen within her own country. There is the potential for not only an enhanced quality of life for Benicia, but also the ripple effect of her influence toward positive community contributions.